We in Boston suffer from an abundance of riches when it comes to libraries and depositories. We have the oldest state historical society (1791) and the oldest genealogical society (1845). We have the oldest public school (Boston Latin, 1635) and across the river the oldest university, Harvard (1636) with the oldest university library (1638). In addition we have the Boston Athenaeum (1807) and the Boston Public Library (1848), surprisingly, the youngest of all these institutions.
The Boston Public Library is going to be suffering from budget cutbacks. It's no surprise. My political take on this is below. However, we have just been told that the newspaper room will be closed. Not hours shortened, closed. For good. I was a librarian at Widener Library, the main research library at Harvard from 1996 to 1999. Students and faculty always asked me why we didn't have long runs of newspapers. Here's the answer. From the year 1850 to the present, there was a gentleman's agreement about whom should collect what at these institutions so close together. I say gentleman because ladies didn't run these institutions until recently. NEHGS collected all things genealogical. Try and find something genealogical at either the BPL or Harvard. The BPL collected all newspapers. Their collection of Massachusetts newspapers is unparalleled. They also had the rest of the nation's newspapers. Harvard, nor the NEHGS ever collected such things. There was no need to do so.
True, today much is available on the Internet via subscription databases. However, the fools who run such databases are pricing themselves out of the market. Already, most libraries have killed Proquest's major cities newspapers and elect just the New York Times and their local big city newspaper. When the St. Louis newspaper came online, I wanted to use it for genealogical purposes, but no one had it other than St. Louis, because no one could afford to have it.
Sorry to say that this is the tip of the iceberg. More cuts are on the way and we are the first to feel it, because, and somewhat rightly, we are of no consequence (we=genealogists). Libraries will be the first to go. You can't shut down the police, fire departments, and hospitals. Schools will be pinched but can't go either. It's coming because it's second grade mathematics. In a world where idiots think you can shrink the size of government, cut taxes, and not address a debt the size of Jupiter, it will be a never ending budgetary process of cut, cut, cut. Because there is no money. No money. None.
More political ranting below the fold. If you are an asshole Tea Party member, please get off my blog now.
Has there ever been such mass ignorance as the Tea Party movement? Has there ever been such hypocrisy? For eight long years, they allowed the republican president to spend us into oblivion, and because they themselves were republicans, they said NOTHING. And now they blame it on the guy who's trying to fix the fucking problem. I wish them all manner of ill will.
Some conservative talk show asshole had David Frum, the conservative economist on (he worked for George W. Bush). The guy said: we should do a 5% pay cut across all federal employees to help balance the budget. To which Frum correctly said: If you fired all federal employees and paid them nothing you would only save $260 billion. It still wouldn't balance the budget.
In all polls the three things conservatives and the Tea Party idiots won't touch are Defense, Social Security and Medicare. Well, the budget will never be balanced then. Did you know that if you dropped the entire portion of the federal budget out that is discretionary spending, minus defense, you still can't balance the budget? You want to know why? The Bush tax cuts of 2001. If you voted for Bush in 2004, you should have to give up your house and live in squalor for the rest of your life. Because you are that stupid.
And state budgets are no different nor are local budgets. I left California because it is the land of idiots. Every election there is a bazillion referendum questions. Do you want a school? yes. Do you want a hospital? yes. Do you want to pay for it? no. California is sure to be the first state to go belly up. And they deserve it too.
It's all second grade mathematics folks. The money coming in must equal the money going out. You either have to cut or raise taxes. If you are hell bent on not raising taxes, you need to seriously control and cut Social Security, Medicare, and Defense Spending. Oh, and why is Medicare so outrageous? Because of health care costs. How do we do something about that? Well, passing health care reforms would be a start, but evidently that is fucking socialism. When this country ends (and trust me it will end and not well), it will be the Tea Party people who killed it. They are so ignorant, they don't even understand what they are doing.